the treasure of the sierra madre

March 8, 2008

well this is a much easier film to talk about than the ones john chose last month. it’s the sort of movie i see audiences really embracing, a bona-fide hit if 1948 ever had one. it grossed an estimated 3.8 million at the time, which today is the equivalent of about $34,924,774.89. not exactly transformers, but still pretty successful.

there is a lot to love about this movie beyond its entertainment value, though. i was particularly struck by something i also noticed while going through hitchcock’s oeuvre over the past few months – the exposition is as great as the rest of the film. just getting to know these characters, particularly Dobbs in this case, is so enjoyable that i almost wished the entire film consisted of Humphrey Bogart walking around begging for change and spending it on haircuts and lottery tickets. also of note was john huston’s heavy use of foreshadowing, which i found quite endearing if not exactly subtle.

still, once the action picks up and the three men start finding more gold than they could imagine, the film loses little steam. it was at this point that i noticed how smooth and natural the transitions are; each scene leads directly into the one that follows, rhythmically and tonally, a quality seemingly lacking from a lot of modern films.

my only criticism is with the performance of Tim Holt as Curtin, who falls mostly flat in the company of Bogart and Walter Huston, who won an Oscar for the role. he slows a few scenes down, and i wish someone more versatile would have been cast, but the script doesn’t give him much to do anyway.

this was a great way to start a month of four great films!

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One Response to “the treasure of the sierra madre”

  1. Polac Says:

    well done, brother


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